Intermodal Transportation Essay

1261 words - 6 pages

The increasing need to efficiently move freight globally will need to continue to grow in order to meet the demands of an expanding world population. It is predicted by 2035 the United States will be required to move over 37, 211 million tons of freight across the country (U.S., 2008). In order to meet this increasing future demand, freight will be required to move from place of origin to final destination as quickly as possible while trying to keep costs down. Intermodal transportation is the type of transportation that could meet this demand by combining many different modes of transport that is easily interchangeable using standardized containers. Intermodal transportation is the use ...view middle of the document...

1). Furthermore, many different modes of transport competed against each other adding to the difficulty of moving cargo. By the mid-1960s a new form of moving cargo from ship to truck or ship to train would help jump start this mode of transport.
The shipping container would change the intermodal industry globally and boost its need. In the 1960s the use of containers became standard within the United States (U.S.) (TRAC, n.d.). Using 40 foot or 53 foot containers would eventually increase the U.S. capacity to move fright up to 70 percent or more than one million containers per year (TRAC, n.d.). Containers started to be used during World War Two to move goods at a faster rate with less labor for converted cargo ships, but by the 1950s the first commercial container ships were built for civilian use moving freight from one continent to another. A container could be offloaded from a ship and right onto a truck without ever touching the ground. Unfortunately, the introduction of containers had an unwanted affect at many ports. Dovan (2000) stated
The impact of expanded use of containers was immediately felt by port workers, with the speed efficiencies in loading/unloading meaning fewer workers were required. Studies found that the amount of goods per worker that could be loaded or unloaded with containers, as compared to break bulk, was so much higher as to “make nineteen in every twenty men redundant (Broeze (235-236)” (p. 4).
This type of impact goes to show how important and well-organized a shipping container can be. Incorporating the shipping container with other modes of transport could only intensify the effectiveness of intermodal transport.
To move large quantities of containers from one continent to another in mass requires a vehicle that is large and massive in its self. A specialty made ship called “container ships” were manufactured to take on the challenge. The first ships built could only carry between 500 and 800 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). But by 2013, the Maersk Triple E class economy of scale, energy efficient and environmentally improved container ship, is able to carry 18,000 TEU on one trip (TRAC, n.d.). By way of increasing the capacity of these container ships, trade between countries would increase allowing shippers to move more products at one time with more frequency, but the use of container ships would not be the only transport mode used to increase the capability of intermodal transportation.
As stated earlier is this paper, intermodal transportation uses two or more modes of transport. One of the cost efficient modes of ground transport is the locomotive. When a shipping container arrives at a port, it can be picked up by...

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